Vietnam urges Big Tech to locate data storage and offices • The Register

Vietnam’s Ministry of Information and Communications updated cybersecurity laws this week to require big tech and telecom companies to store user data locally and control that data with local bodies.

The data involved goes beyond the basics of name, email, credit card information, phone number, and IP address, and extends to social elements, including groups users belong to or the friends they digitally interact with.

“Data of all Internet users, ranging from financial records and biometric data to information about people’s ethnicity and political views, or any data created by users while browsing the Internet, must be stored domestically,” the said decree issued on Wednesday, translated by Reuters.

The new decree applies to a wide range of companies, including those that provide telecommunications services, store and share data in cyberspace, provide national or international domain names to users in Vietnam, e-commerce, online payments, payment intermediaries, transport connection services operating in cyberspace, social media, online video games, messaging services, and voice or video calls.

According to Article 26 of Government Decree 53, the new rules will come into effect on October 1, 2022, approximately seven weeks after their announcement.

However, foreign companies have a full 12 months to comply – starting with instructions from the Minister for Public Security. The companies are then obliged to store the data in Vietnam for at least 24 months. System logs must be retained for 12 months.

After this period, the authorities reserve the right to ensure that affected companies comply with the law by conducting investigations and data collection requests, as well as content takedown orders.

Vietnam is a major tech manufacturing hub, with Foxconn, Samsung, Microsoft, Intel and LG all having a presence in the Southeast Asian country. Apple suppliers are Luxshare Precision Industry and Foxconn allegedly talks about moving production of Apple Watch and MacBooks from China to Vietnam for the first time.

Prime Minister Pham Minh has expressed Desire for an even greater Big Tech presence.

While Vietnam is a significant source of users and revenue for both Google and Meta, neither have official offices in the country. Positions related to the country’s market are common based in Singapore.

AllegedlyHistorically, this is due to Vietnam’s strict censorship of online content.

According to the Decree, local offices can be either branches or representative offices of foreign companies.® Vietnam urges Big Tech to locate data storage and offices • The Register

Laura Coffey

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